In the winter and fall, this soup really warms me up. For a more refined presentation, you can pass it through a strainer after blending to give it a silky-smooth texture, although it’s not absolutely necessary. This is an easy-to-make recipe, and it can be prepared a day or two in advance. If you want to embellish it and make it a fabulous antipasto, you can add croutons or some poached shrimp just before serving.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced scallion, for garnish
Add the olive oil to a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and celery, and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the squash, sage, and bay leaves. Cook and toss until the sage is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add 8 cups water, the orange zest and juice, salt, and crushed red pepper. Set the cover ajar, and simmer the soup until the squash is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
Carefully purée the soup in batches in a blender. Return it to the cooking pot, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with the bacon and scallions.